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permitted to grow up out of control—without order and structure in their lives—and these terms have been invented to provide an excuse for what is usually merely bad parenting. A growing number of voic- es are announcing that vast numbers of parents have been “had” by false theories that have led so many parents and children to believe that they have a “disease” that needs to be treated with medication, rather than a behavior problem that is linked to faulty character above all other factors. Yet, there are now over six million American chil- dren who are being medicated for ADD and ADHD.

In the end, it will be up to you to help your children develop all the necessary traits and qualities that will permit them to come to full ma- turity. These will be the subject of discussion in the next three chapters. Understand that there is necessarily a certain amount of overlap on the many principles and other aspects of teaching throughout the book.

Make Clear the Importance of Setting Goals

By age 70, many people will have spent about ten years watching television. There are thousands of television programs waiting to capture your children’s minds and reduce them into mindless “spong- es,” absorbing information without being able to differentiate be- tween what is good and bad for their consumption. Without your in- tervention, your children are almost certainly destined to become “couch potatoes.” Millions today waste their entire childhood in physical and mental idleness, staring at “the tube.”

You can counteract this by limiting your children’s television watching, and by teaching them to set proper goals.

Teach them to read books—and to perhaps write book reports (my grandfather paid me one dollar for every book report that I wrote and read to him over the phone, as long as it had over 300 words). Encourage them to take up hobbies, such as building mod- el ships or airplanes, or collecting coins, stamps or postcards. Guide them to participate in sports, such as basketball, soccer, tennis, swimming, etc. Encourage them to learn a musical instrument, such as the flute, guitar or piano. They can learn to skate, build and fly a kite, keep a journal, make watercolor or oil paintings, model with clay, keep a garden, and many more things—the list is endless.

Help your children expand their minds and explore their talents. They have untapped gifts just waiting to be discovered. But they need your guidance to do this.

Where Teaching the Basics Begins


Teach your children to write down their goals. Over time, they will learn which goals can be reached, which should be amended and which should be dropped. Then teach them how to take steps toward the goals, and to be able to measure their progress along the way. Be sure to remind them often that the Proverbs teach, “The desire ac- complished is sweet to the soul” (13:19).

Sports will teach them lessons and values. (“It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game”—following the rules, re- specting the coach and learning to emphasize teamwork.)

Coach your children to participate in activities with enthusiasm, and not to give up or quit when “the going gets tough.” It has become a sign of the times that poor sportsmanship has sunk to new levels, with professional athletes leading the way. Sadly, the problem of the proverbial “little league parents” out of control has grown to epi- demic levels as well. This means many children have become poor losers.

You must teach your children to cope with losing—but to desire to achieve!

Guide Toward the Pursuit of Excellence

Strive to instill within your children the desire to reach their POTEN- TIAL, to go above and beyond what is expected of them—to learn how they can do much more than they ever thought possible. Teach the principle of Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.”

Any goal or thing of worth requires HARD WORK—one must pay the price. Most today are no longer willing to pay that price and will happily settle for second best, or less.

Teaching your children to persevere will give them the inner strength needed to achieve their goals. This will have implications in not just their goals and desires, but in every aspect of their lives! Teach your children to never give up—even in the face of hard- ship—and you will virtually ensure their success.

Inspire your children with the knowledge that life rewards those who go the extra mile: “See you a man diligent in his business [NKJV: “who excels in his work”]? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean [inferior] men” (Prov. 22:29).

Jesus had much to say about those who only do what is expected of them. Notice this: “But which of you, having a servant plowing or

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